OC1 on Roof Rack Top Speed

Has anyone had an OC1 break while being transported on a car/truck roof rack? It's not an issue driving around this little island, (Kauai), but what about you guys that live where the speed limit is above 35MPH and you live more than 1 mile from the water. Could an OC1 survive a hour and a half trip at 85MPH? It would seem the air flowing over and up the windshield would be enough pressure to break the front of the canoe off.

Submitted by OC1 Driver on Tue, 10/21/2008 - 6:30pm

I put my old Kaimana on a Toyota Sequia and tied it down with foam cradles and regular tie downs/rope and drove for about an hour at about 75 MPH and it was fine. Just make sure you tie it right.

When I sold my boat the guy put it on his VW golf in cradles on the racks and tied it to the rack and the car. He then drove about 8 hours to San Francisco probably at about 65 + MPH. He got there fine.

#1 Tue, 10/21/2008 - 7:48pm

If it can't stand wind pressure, I would be scared to go surfing with it...

#2 Tue, 10/21/2008 - 8:13pm

Just need to make sure your canoe is tied down properly and that the racks/mounts themselves are sturdy and reliable. Also make sure you take the seat off if it's removable (i.e. secured by velcro) and secure it or you'll lose it.

Here are some threads to read what others have already posted in the past about transporting.

These two has good stories about racks/mounts that failed.


This has one has Jibofo talking about going 100-110mph to/from California and Arizona.


#3 Tue, 10/21/2008 - 9:43pm

Yeah, the weekly drive from AZ to SoCal is boring, so its peddle to the metal, never under 85, and regularly way faster. Got to have a good carrier. Burnham Boat Slings makes the best.

#4 Wed, 10/22/2008 - 2:43am

At 85 mph , I`d be more concerned with getting pulled over by the cops than the boat breaking .

All truth all the time ......


#5 Wed, 10/22/2008 - 2:49am

Good radar detector.
Laws are made to be broken.

#6 Wed, 10/22/2008 - 2:59am

How about the prefered travelling configuration.

Right side up, or upside down? I note Burnham Slings are designed for upside down so the rudder may get a workout.l
"Anyone can steer the ship when the sea is calm" - Syrus Publilius

#7 Wed, 10/22/2008 - 3:38am

My tandem sits right side up on it, my single upside down. Don't really notice much difference.

#8 Wed, 10/22/2008 - 3:43am

That Burnham rack system is a good one , but since you have it mounted on the Thule rack system , its only as good as the Thule.

That Dead head sticker on yer beamer reminds me of an old Don Henley tune ....

" All truth , All the time "

#9 Wed, 10/22/2008 - 3:47am

Thule or Yakima racks are rock solid, but their cradles suck big time. I wouldn't trust them at 35mph.

#10 Wed, 10/22/2008 - 3:53am

I`ve gotten years of trouble free service from my Yakima "Mako " saddles . I do add extra foam to them for added padding .

#11 Wed, 10/22/2008 - 4:00am

Kanu The Rock

If you have suitable flat surfaces on the edge of your hull around your cockpit, the Yak Canoe Gun'l Brackets work very well with canoe upside down and tie down straps. They have rubber surfaces which will not damage the canoe. Very stable by virtue of the canoe being mounted on flat points. Zero lateral movement.

#12 Wed, 10/22/2008 - 4:46am

a moor interesting question is has anyone had on fly off? if you've been paddling for a while there must be stories.

#13 Wed, 10/22/2008 - 5:34am

NEVER LOST AN OC-1, but check this one up, i was living in the north shore, working at a surf-shop next to Pupukea Foodland, waves were 8 to 10 feet and SUNSET was epic, so i took a few ours off an went surfing, caught the wave of my life and got barreled in the inside, after pau, i left my 8'0'' Randy Rarick on top of the rack of my truck, sit to enjoy a few more sets and listen to Hawaiian style band in the stereo, well, time to go back to work, i used to park right at foodland in front of my shop, as i went to rinse of with the hose i notice my board wasnt in my racks...........hahhahahaha

i neva saw that board again, the racks neava failed but i forgot to tied her down.....


#14 Wed, 10/22/2008 - 6:22am

I've heard of an ama from a two man flying off and getting smashed by a semi! (a poor happenstance during this year at our club)

#15 Wed, 10/22/2008 - 6:25am

offering's to the god's

#16 Wed, 10/22/2008 - 6:31am

i kind of thought that the person that got it, needed her more then me......the deal is i went to the shaper and order a custom to be like that one, but neva........that board was magic in the waves..........pure magic.

Aloha Mulus, good to see you again!

#17 Wed, 10/22/2008 - 6:42am


A few thoughts

  • Thule roof mounting systems are strong and corrosion resistance (not proof, you still need to take a token amount of care) with mine 8 years old and no damage.
  • get as big a distance between the cradles as you can to provide stability
  • cross winds are a b*tch so tie down the front and rear to tow mounts or similar, but not with so much downward pressure you end up bending your waka
  • related to another thread I transport fully rigged if travelling by myself, but then I have a waka with rubber lashings etc. So having the ama tied down gives etc stability (with no concerns about wear on the kiato mounts) and saves me 15-30 mins rigging/derigging
  • 120km/hr with a 21 ft canoe (like the mix of imperial and metric there?) on top of a sedan with less than 3ft between cradles has been my fastest (and an unintentional one at that).

I know two people who have lost waka of the roof of their cars so if does happen. One I think was failure of the roof racks, the other a strong wind that challenged the tie-downs.


#18 Wed, 10/22/2008 - 9:03am

I`ve got some boat flying off the roof stories , anyone want to hear em?

#19 Wed, 10/22/2008 - 11:41am

Not what you want to see... beware of racks not made to suit.
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#20 Wed, 10/22/2008 - 11:59am

a moor interesting question is has anyone had on fly off? if you’ve been paddling for a while there must be stories.


If you went to those first two links you would have gotten stories of some OC-1/OC-2 flying off.


The Yakima Mako's are fine, but not shaped good enough for an OC. As mentioned, extra foam or padding is needed if you want a better surface mount for an OC type craft. Most of the time I see the OC-1/2 put on its side (tilted left or right) in those Mako's and that's what I ended up doing to tranport my Fusion when I bought it.

I later ended up getting those grey foam blocks that fit over the crossbars and put the Zephyr on with the top down. The front was sitting on the footwell gunwhale and the back was sitting on the hump in front of the rear iako hole. I made some 2-foot long pads to keep the 1 inch tie-down straps from being directly on the hull and tightened too tight.

One thing about those foam blocks though is you need to make sure you put a strap on it from letting it slide across the bars if that's all you have on the rack. I started out with them centered on the (58") crossbar and the back foam block slid to the left of center making the tail flare out into the other lane. Had to stop and adjust it back to center and used some extra bungy cords to keep it in place.

I see other guys that just use those thick surf rack pads and just put their OC-1's top down on them and tie-down straps. Other times I see just one set of saddles (mako, landsharks or other) on the front and just surf rack pads on the back.

Also, don't forget about putting on a Red or Orange tow flag on the tail/bow (whichever way you have it mounted). You might get lucky to not get a ticket for it now, but you might get one later if the cop or highway patrol has a bad day and see you without one.

#21 Wed, 10/22/2008 - 12:02pm

Thulle roof racks, Thulle pair of saddles (too wide), Rhino pair of saddles, Da Kine surf pads, on top of a Land Rover Defender.
Personnal record : 2V1s (not rigged) + 1 single ski + 1 tandem ski @ 120km/h with no problem. + 5 hyped guys in the car ;-)

#22 Wed, 10/22/2008 - 2:30pm

OK, if we're talking speed records, back in the day when I was making custom windsurfers, 6 boards on top of a BMW M3, Munich to Lago di Garda, following two very drunk Swedes who knew the way...200Km/h (120mph). Got to love those Euro highways.

#23 Wed, 10/22/2008 - 4:04pm

Law has been enforced in France. Max speed on highways is 130 km/h, and 50 km/h over is a CRIME... you loose your driving licence and go to jail for that. Don't know what is allowed or not in other euro countrys, but you were way over ;-) not even talking about driving drunk (were those swedes friends of yours ?).

#24 Wed, 10/22/2008 - 4:58pm

The Swedes managed a company that was buying boards from me. They flew me over to Europe from Hawaii for boat shows. Drinking laws in Sweden are very strict (so they should be) and these guys would go totally crazy whenever they travelled out of Sweden.
No idea what the speed limits were, but I wasn't about to lose those guys as I had no idea where the hell I was.

#25 Wed, 10/22/2008 - 5:13pm

i go the speed limit. it's boring, but it saves me gas.

#26 Wed, 10/22/2008 - 10:19pm

Fortunately we are not imposed a paddling speed limit; tough I'm not sure I could go overspeed ;-)

#27 Wed, 10/22/2008 - 10:38pm

I carry my kanu with the Yakima Mako saddles and have my ama strapped to the Yakima MultiMounts. I do over 70mph and no problems. My gas mileage takes a beating on my Highlander, but that's another story.

#28 Thu, 10/23/2008 - 7:52am

What I'm getting from this thread is that MOST of the paddlers here on this forum enjoy not only speed on the water, but also speed on land too! 120mph...85mph...70mph...

#29 Thu, 10/23/2008 - 8:18am

I guess one of the things I would be worried about is the rudder might start occilating/vibrating in the high winds. I would imagine that would be bad for the boat if it was sustained for a significant amount of time.

#30 Thu, 10/23/2008 - 12:17pm

Talking about gas mileage, does anyone use a trailer ?

#31 Thu, 10/23/2008 - 1:19pm

we made this trailer from a jetski trailer.. fits 13 canoes (we've maxed it out several times).. ama rides in the cage...

bought the trailer for $225.. welded on the bars, extended the tongue, added cage.. cage welded and painted by painteur himself (he IS a painter extraordinaire).. it was designed and built to be disassembled, but that was a waste of time since it's never been dissembled since it was built.

we got some foam cut out from oceanohana, and had some sunbrella covers made to cover the foam so it's on permanent..

was a bit of work, but love having it.

#32 Thu, 10/23/2008 - 2:51pm

"Downwinders Is Us", very cool.

#33 Thu, 10/23/2008 - 3:37pm

I have had my boat on the roof doing 70 mph.
It didn't complain......

#34 Thu, 10/23/2008 - 8:37pm

I am the one who bought nb1376's Kaimana...

cruise control on 65 all the way up the 5 from Newport Beach to SF bay area. It only got a little dicey, and thus I had to slow down, due to high winds while going over the 152 pass into Gilroy. Even with the canoe on top, I get good gas mileage because I am driving relatively (to my usual speeds) slow!

I use racks that "hard mount" to the car. By this I mean that the racks actually screw into or attach to a part on the car instead of the clip and squeeze (I call these soft mounts) rack. I use the mako craddles and a second set of straps just in case.

About a year ago, I was transporting a 2 man and another guy had 2 2mans on his roof. He was using the "soft mount" system. I watched as one of the clips on his racks bent and the whole rack with boats started to slide down the back of his car while on the freeway. The tails of the boats took the most damage. It cost a bit to repair them!


always learning....

#35 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 6:48am

Not a lot of cars have the bolt in points. Some BMW, some Audi, not sure what others. Its a really good system.

#36 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 7:03am

I agree with kdkoors about vibrations on the rudder. Last winter I drove to a race and observed another paddlers rudder vibrating like crazy. It looked like the rudder was making more turns per hour then anyone could do in 10 years of non-stop paddling.
Made me think about cable fatigue and rudder shaft-hole wear-out and cable tube wear-through. Since then I wrap a bungee over my foot pedals to avoid that. All tricks for fastening rudders with broken cables can be applied as well. I prefer this setup with an extra bungee for insurance in case my buckle straps come loose. At least I I'll be able to slow down from 100mph and fix it.

#37 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 7:52am

Nice racks Dacho
I want some now.
A long time ago I had my double and single flew of I was doing 60 miles and hour on a 4 lane hwy north of Seattle. the double never made it ,but he single flew across to the other side of the hwy and stayed mostly intact with scratches and two grapefruit size holes, side by side. and there was so much traffic it took me a while to get across. by the time i did there was this guy, with 3 pit bulls. loading it in the back of his van I got out of my truck walked over and took it back and he said I guess that's yours. but I was not in a social mood. I tell you it's a tragedy loosing canoes. but you have to hand it to the single it's lucky and tuff.

#38 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 11:06am

Never noticed any rudder vibration, but I always travel with just a mini 4" rudder when its on the roof.

#39 Fri, 10/24/2008 - 12:54pm

Thanks to everyone that responded to my question. I suppose that a canoe shaped to withstand breaking from the weight of an adult as they bounce around in the water, is more than strong enough to withstand the air pressure flowing up and over a car at highway speed. Also, a good canoe cover would protect it even more.

So, next summer look out for a Toyota Tundra heading south on the 405 at 85mph with a canoe on top.

"Don't get between a paddler and the water. You could get hurt."

#40 Sat, 10/25/2008 - 12:03pm

That's the attitude. Although the 405 always seems screwed up with traffic when I'm on it.

#41 Sat, 10/25/2008 - 12:55pm

You just need to stay off the 405 between 5am and 2am. If you can hit it at 3am, and no one has decided to change a tire in the fast lane ( it happens ), you can maintain a speed of 70mph to 80mph.

#42 Sat, 10/25/2008 - 2:31pm

Guess the trick is to be finished paddling before dawn.

#43 Sat, 10/25/2008 - 2:38pm

As someone else said, a larger bar spread is better. Also, take care of how well the rack is attached to the car; seems that most of the stories that I have heard involve the racks detaching from the car.

Tying down the front and rear as well as at the racks / saddles means that more things have to fail before you lose the boat.

Riskiest situation appears to be crosswinds.

#44 Sun, 10/26/2008 - 2:45pm

I agree, add some "dummy" cord to the racks and crafts and it may be enough to keep them from totally flying off and getting more damaged when they hit the road and or get hit by other vehicles.

#45 Sun, 10/26/2008 - 4:38pm

we were using tie down straps like the truckers use but from what we cold tell the strap were vibrating and the metal part cut through the strap. but ya definitely dummy cord would have been great.

#46 Sun, 10/26/2008 - 5:21pm

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